Panhandle Runners Return Home from Boston - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Panhandle Runners Return Home from Boston

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Joe Edgecombe and Marty Kirkland ran in the Boston Marathon Monday and were less than a mile away when bombs rocked the finish line.

Edgecombe and Kirkland left Boston Tuesday, but not the way they found it.

"We were ready to get out of town," said Kirkland.

"Boston after an event like that is very joyous," said Edgecombe. "And it wasn't. The streets were dead you were afraid to do everything.

"You didn't know what to do."  

Not only did the couple leave Boston a different city, but they left Boston different people. Both were less than a mile away from the finish when they were stopped by police.

"I'm like 'What do you mean it's over?'" said Kirkland. "Not 'It's stopped', but 'It's over.' He was like 'There was a bombs at the finish line.'  Then its like what? We couldn't believe what we were hearing."

And as reality set in, silence replaced the city's festive nature.

"The whole 26 miles of Boston everyone is screaming and yelling and cheering everyone on," said Kirkland. "And then at that point....it just got really quiet."

But someone was watching over them Monday afternoon. Kirkland experienced foot problems that put her well behind her normal time, which would have left her close to the finish line when the explosions occurred.

"It was possible if I had a good day, but I think the foot problems was definitely a saving grace," said Kirkland.

Even after the couples return home, friends continue to reach out.

"The phone is still going off all day today," said Edgecombe. "Text messages, phone calls, 'glad you are ok,' the people at work came up kind of teary eyed."

As for Boston, Edgecombe says his feelings have changed. Now, more somber like the city he left.

"I don't know how to explain what Boston means to me now," said Edgecombe. "The fear, the unknown, the potential of a strike again."

"You didn't put us down," said Kirkland. "We are back and we are going to do this again you didn't accomplish what you had hoped to.

"Whatever reason that person had for setting those bombs off."

The two say they have every intention on returning to Boston next year if they qualify for the race. Kirkland for her fifth marathon and Edgecombe for his third.